Well, it seems as though the era of autonomous vehicles is quite near. While the idea in and of itself has been around for decades, advancements in technology have only begun to turn ideas into reality. It’s safe to say the autonomous vehicle tech race began in 2013 when Elon Musk stated: “Autopilot is a good thing to have in planes, and we should have it in cars.” In September 2014, the initial hardware (HW1) supporting Tesla’s Autopilot was installed in Tesla cars. Since then, automakers like Mercedes-Benz have been scrambling to be the first to bring a fully functional, safe autonomous vehicle to market.
Mercedes-Benz partners up with NVIDIA
Unless you’re a hardcore gamer, involved in high-performance data storage, or work with artificial intelligence and deep learning, you may not know much about NVIDIA. Located in Santa Clara, California, NVIDIA is a technology company known for its high-powered graphics processing units (GPUs).
NVIDIA’s most popular GPU product is sold under the label “GeForce,” and is used in gaming PCs, smartphones, the automotive market, among other industries. It also provides parallel processing capabilities for supercomputers and neural networks.
With that said, it makes perfect sense as to why Mercedes-Benz would choose to partner up with a company like NVIDIA. The most significant hurdle faced by automakers attempting to design autonomous vehicles is processing data. And we’re not talking your average data processing either.
Autonomous vehicles must operate on the edge of data processing
Autonomous vehicles must be able to process hundreds of gigabytes or even dozens of terabytes of data daily in real-time. Not only that, but much of the data will also be consumed raw. In the data storage and artificial intelligence sector, processing data in such a way is called, according to NVIDIA, “edge computing.” This is a distributed computing model that delivers computation and data storage nearer to the location where it’s needed.
NVIDIA is one of the top technology companies in the world bringing edge computing solutions to the market. And though Tesla is a stiff competitor for other automakers, when it comes to edge computing, it can’t yet compete with a tech company such as NVIDIA. Thus, this might very well give Mercedes-Benz a one-up on Tesla.
Technology Mercedes-Benz hopes to offer consumers with an NVIDIA partnership
According to NVIDIA’s website, it’s partnering with Mercedes-Benz to develop intelligent cockpits and to redesign architectures for an AI driver. The Mercedes-Benz EQC crossover already features an AI-rich MBUX infotainment system, powered by NVIDIA.
According to Car and Driver, Ola Källenius, a member of the board of management of Daimler AG Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, stated that the two partners ” … intend to revolutionize the way you interact with cars.”
The MBUX infotainment system found in 2020 Mercedes-Benz models feature new voice-activated 3D touchscreen displays. Powered by NVIDIA technology, the displays are quite something to look at. Its AI personalizes each vehicle according to its owner by learning their habits and preferences.
This includes things such as how drivers position their seats, steering wheels, comfort features, and even lights. Additionally, the AI-powered navigation system will recommend places to visit based on owners’ driving history.
Its AI interface is capable of tailoring its appearance to match the driver’s mood—this means understanding the users’ voice fluctuations. And much like Google’s Voice Search, MBUX understands natural speech rather than robotic commands. Ola Källenius explained further that Mercedes-Benz wishes to make vehicles seem more human.
The new MBUX AI infotainment system became available in the United States earlier this year in Mercedes-Benz’s first all-electric SUV: the Mercedes-Benz EQC. Thus far, based on reviews, this new approach has greatly boosted Mercedes-Benz’s reputation as an industry leader. Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, so to speak, Mercedes left it up to the pros. And this very well may place Mercedes-Benz in the lead over Tesla.